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True Crime

Deer Creek Drive

Deer Creek Drive

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The stunning true story of a murder that rocked the Mississippi Delta and forever shaped one author's life and perception of home.

"Mix together a bloody murder in a privileged white family, a false accusation against a Black man, a suspicious town, a sensational trial with colorful lawyers, and a punishment that didn't fit the crime, and you have the best of southern gothic fiction. But the very best part is that the story is true." --John Grisham

In 1948, in the most stubbornly Dixiefied corner of the Jim Crow south, society matron Idella Thompson was viciously murdered in her own home: stabbed at least 150 times and left facedown in one of the bathrooms. Her daughter, Ruth Dickins, was the only other person in the house. She told authorities a Black man she didn't recognize had fled the scene, but no evidence of the man's presence was uncovered. When Dickins herself was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, the community exploded. Petitions pleading for her release were drafted, signed, and circulated, and after only six years, the governor of Mississippi granted Ruth Dickins an indefinite suspension of her sentence and she was set free.

In Deer Creek Drive, Beverly Lowry--who was ten at the time of the murder and lived mere miles from the Thompsons' home--tells a story of white privilege that still has ramifications today, and reflects on the brutal crime, its aftermath, and the ways it clarified her own upbringing in Mississippi.

Deliberate Cruelty

Deliberate Cruelty

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This glittering, "wild romp of a story, boldly and beautifully told" (Neal Thompson, author of The First Kennedys) explores the darkly intertwined fates of infamous socialite Ann Woodward and literary icon Truman Capote, sweeping us to the upper echelons of Manhattan's high society--where falls from grace are all the more shocking.

When Ann Woodward shot her husband, banking heir Billy Woodward, in the middle of the night in 1955, her life changed forever. Though she claimed she thought he was a prowler, few believed the woman who had risen from charismatic showgirl to popular socialite. Everyone had something to say about the scorching scandal afflicting one of the most rich and famous families of New York City, but no one was more obsessed with the tale than Truman Capote.

Acclaimed for his bestselling nonfiction book In Cold Blood, Capote was looking for new material and followed the scandal from beginning to end. Like Ann, he too had ascended from nobody to toast of the town, but he always felt like an outsider, even among the exclusive coterie of high society women who adored him. He decided the story of Ann's turbulent marriage would be the basis of his masterpiece--a novel about the dysfunction and sordid secrets revealed to him by his high society "swans"--never thinking that it would eventually lead to Ann's suicide and his own scandalous downfall.

"A 20th-century morality tale of enduring fascination" (Laura Thompson, author of The Heiresses), Deliberate Cruelty is a haunting cross between true crime and literary history that is perfect for fans of Furious Hours, Empty Mansions, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Devil You Know

Devil You Know

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In this "unmissable book" (The Guardian), an internationally renowned forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist demonstrates the remarkable human capacity for radical empathy, change, and redemption.

What drives someone to commit an act of terrible violence? Drawing from her thirty years of experience in providing therapy to people in prisons and secure hospitals who have committed serious offenses, Dr. Gwen Adshead provides fresh and surprising insights into violence and the mind. Through a collaboration with coauthor Eileen Horne, Dr. Adshead brings her extraordinary career to life in a series of unflinching portraits.

Alongside doctor and patient, we discover what human cruelty, ranging from serial homicide to stalking, arson or sexual offending, means to perpetrators, experiencing firsthand how minds can change when the people some might label as "evil" are able to take responsibility for their life stories and get to know their own minds. With outcomes ranging from hope to despair, from denial to recovery, these men and women are revealed in all their complexity and shared humanity. In this era of mass incarceration, deep cuts in mental health care and extreme social schisms, this book offers a persuasive argument for compassion over condemnation.

Moving, thought-provoking, and brilliantly told, The Devil You Know is a rare and timely book with the power to transform our ideas about cruelty and violence, and to radically expand the limits of empathy. "A welcome contribution to the literature of crime and rehabilitation" (Kirkus Reviews).

Devils Harvest

Devils Harvest

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This suspenseful true story of a drug cartel hitman who got away with murder after murder in California's Central Valley over three decades reveals how the criminal justice system fails our most vulnerable immigrant communities.

On the surface, fifty-eight-year-old Jose Martinez didn't seem evil or even that remarkable--just a regular neighbor, good with cars and devoted to his family. But in between taking his children to Disneyland and visiting his mom, Martinez was also one of the most skilled professional killers police had ever seen.

He tracked one victim to one of the wealthiest corners of America, a horse ranch in Santa Barbara, and shot him dead in the morning sunlight, setting off a decades-long manhunt. He shot another man, a farmworker, right in front of his young wife as they drove to work in the fields. The widow would wait decades for justice. Those were murders for hire. Others he killed for vengeance.

How did Martinez manage to evade law enforcement for so long with little more than a slap on the wrist? Because he understood a dark truth about the criminal justice system: if you kill the "right people"--people who are poor, who aren't white, and who don't have anyone to speak up for them--you can get away with it.

Melding the pacing and suspense of a true crime thriller with the rigor of top-notch investigative journalism, The Devil's Harvest follows award-winning reporter Jessica Garrison's relentless search for the truth as she traces the life of this assassin, the cops who were always a few steps behind him, and the families of his many victims. Drawing upon decades of case files, interrogation transcripts, on-the-ground reporting, and Martinez's chilling handwritten journals, The Devil's Harvest uses a gripping and often shocking narrative to dig into one of the most important moral questions haunting our politically divided nation today: Why do some deaths--and some lives--matter more than others?

"Meticulously researched and tightly woven, The Devil's Harvest is an important story because it tells us that if [this] can happen in one place, then it can happen in any place. And that's damn scary." --Michael Connelly, New York Times bestselling author of The Closers, The Lincoln Lawyer, and The Night Fire

Don't Say a Thing: A Predator, a Pursuit, and the Women Who Persevered

Don't Say a Thing: A Predator, a Pursuit, and the Women Who Persevered

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In a powerful true-crime memoir, an Emmy Award-winning journalist seeks closure in a decades-long series of crimes and freedom from her own personal demons.

In April 1999, reporter Tamara Leitner woke to an active crime scene outside her Arizona apartment. Her neighbor had been sexually assaulted by a man who would later be identified as Claude Dean Hull II, a serial rapist who escaped justice for decades. New identities. New states. New victims--more than one hundred suspected across the country and thousands more victimized in myriad ways. Tamara's twenty-year compulsion to follow the investigation began.

She needed to question a failed system. She needed to know the women whose lives were irrevocably altered. And she needed to face the root of her obsession with Hull and his crimes.

In interviewing, befriending, and profoundly connecting with Hull's survivors, Tamara crafts a unique true-crime narrative. It not only reveals the struggles of the justice system to help victims of sexual violence but explores how these resilient women--and Tamara herself--strove to reclaim their power in the wake of indelible trauma.

Drifting Into Darkness

Drifting Into Darkness

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A tangled web of family dysfunction, fatal attraction, and greed wends its way from the elegant Southern mansions of old Montgomery, Alabama, to the New Age salons of Boulder and rural, windswept Wyoming in Drifting Into Darkness, a true saga of bloodshed and betrayal.

Two grisly murders--a brutal double parricide--a suicide, and a fourth death under suspicious circumstances. Drifting Into Darkness is a tangled tale of family dysfunction, fatal attraction, and greed, a saga that wends its way from the elegant Southern mansions of Montgomery, Alabama, to the New Age salons of Boulder, Colorado, to rural, windswept Wyoming.

On Thanksgiving weekend in 2004, philanthropists Charlotte and Brent Springford Sr.?a wealthy, socially prominent Montgomery couple?were brutally beaten to death with an ax handle, echoing the infamous case of Lizzie Borden. Suspicion quickly fell on the Springfords' gifted but troubled son Brent Jr., who would be tried and sentenced to life without parole. But a mystery remained: Who was the mysterious, elusive woman who claimed to be a Native American shaman that investigators believed manipulated Brent into this murder?

Journalists solving murders is a time-tested trope in movies, mysteries, and on television. But cops and cop reporters know that rarely happens in real life. Except when it does. Veteran crime reporter Mark I. Pinsky, who covered the sensational cases of serial killer Ted Bundy and Green Beret Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, broke the cardinal rule of journalism by involving himself in the story. Pinsky's extensive research prompted investigators to invite him to join their dogged pursuit of justice. His access to unique and heart-breaking behind-the-scenes material enables him to take readers with him into the troubled, tortured minds of the case's main players.

Elissas

Elissas

$29.00
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Amazon's Best Nonfiction Book of the Month for June 2023
Nylon's "June 2023's Must-Read Book Releases"
Pure Wow's "11 Books We Can't Wait to Read in June"
The Skimm's "17 of Our Favorite Books Coming Out This Summer"
Glamour's "15 Best Nonfiction Books of 2023, So Far"
Bustle's "Most Anticipated Books Of Spring & Summer 2023"
Harper's Bazaar's "23 Best Summer Beach Reads of 2023"
Zibby Mag's "Most Anticipated Spring and Summer Books"
A New York Post Best Books of the Week selection

Three suburban girls meet at a boarding school for troubled teens.
Eight years later, they were dead.

Bustle editor Samantha Leach and her childhood best friend, Elissa, met as infants in the suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island, where they attended nursery, elementary school, and temple together. As seventh graders, they would steal drinks from bar mitzvahs and have boys over in Samantha's basement--innocent, early acts of rebellion. But after one of their shared acts, Samantha was given a disciplinary warning by their private school while Elissa was dismissed altogether, and later sent away. Samantha did not know then, but Elissa had just become one of the fifty-thousand-plus kids per year who enter the Troubled Teen Industry: a network of unregulated programs meant to reform wealthy, wayward youth.

Less than a year after graduation from Ponca Pines Academy, Elissa died at eighteen years old. In Samantha's grief, she fixated on Elissa's last years at the therapeutic boarding school, eager to understand why their paths diverged. As she spoke to mutual friends and scoured social media pages, Samantha learned of Alyssa and Alissa, Elissa's closest friends at the school who shared both her name and penchant for partying, where drugs and alcohol became their norm. The matching Save Our Souls tattoo all three girls also had further fueled Samantha's fixation, as she watched their lives play out online. Four years after Elissa's death, Alyssa died, then Alissa at twenty-six.

In The Elissas, Samantha endeavors to understand why they ultimately met a shared, tragic fate that she was spared, in turn, offering a chilling account of the secret lives of young suburban women.

Family Next Door

Family Next Door

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From New York Times bestselling true crime author John Glatt comes the devastating story of the Turpins: a seemingly normal family whose dark secrets would shock and captivate the world.

On January 14, 2018, a seventeen-year-old girl climbed out of the window of her Perris, California home and dialed 911 on a borrowed cell phone. Struggling to stay calm, she told the operator that she and her 12 siblings--ranging in age from 2 to 29--were being abused by their parents. When the dispatcher asked for her address, the girl hesitated. "I've never been out," she stammered.

To their family, neighbors, and online friends, Louise and David Turpin presented a picture of domestic bliss: dressing their thirteen children in matching outfits and buying them expensive gifts. But what police discovered when they entered the Turpin family home would eclipse the most shocking child abuse cases in history. For years, David and Louise had kept their children in increasing isolation, trapping them in a sinister world of torture, fear, and near starvation.

In the first major account of the case, investigative journalist John Glatt delves into the disturbing details and recounts the bravery of the thirteen siblings in the face of unimaginable horror.

Fear Is Just a Word

Fear Is Just a Word

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A riveting true story of a mother who fought back against the drug cartels in Mexico, pursuing her own brand of justice to avenge the kidnapping and murder of her daughter--from a global investigative correspondent for The New York Times

"Azam Ahmed has written a page-turning mystery but also a stunning, color-saturated portrait of the collapse of formal justice in one Mexican town."--Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Directorate S

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: New Yorker, The Economist, Chicago Public Library

Fear Is Just a Word begins on an international bridge between Mexico and the United States, as fifty-six-year-old Miriam Rodríguez stalks one of the men she believes was involved in the murder of her daughter Karen. He is her target number eleven, a member of the drug cartel that has terrorized and controlled what was once Miriam's quiet hometown of San Fernando, Mexico, almost one hundred miles from the U.S. border. Having dyed her hair red as a disguise, Miriam watches, waits, and then orchestrates the arrest of this man, exacting her own version of justice.

Woven into this deeply researched, moving account is the story of how cartels built their power in Mexico, escalated the use of violence, and kidnapped and murdered tens of thousands. Karen was just one of the many people who disappeared, and Miriam, a brilliant, strategic, and fearless woman, begged for help from the authorities and paid ransom money she could not afford in hopes of saving her daughter. When that failed, she decided that "fear is just a word," and began a crusade to track down Karen's killers and to help other victimized families in their search for justice.

What do people do when their country and the peaceful town where they have grown up become unrecognizable, suddenly places of violence and fear? Azam Ahmed takes us into the grieving of a country and a family to tell the mesmerizing story of a brave and brilliant woman determined to find out what happened to her daughter, and to see that the criminals who murdered her were punished. Fear Is Just a Word is an unforgettable and moving portrait of a woman, a town, and a country, and of what can happen when violent forces leave people to seek justice on their own.

Forever Witness

Forever Witness

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"Thought-provoking true-crime thriller...the book raises urgent questions of balancing public and private good that we'll likely be dealing with as long as the title implies."--Wall Street Journal

A relentless detective and a civilian genealogist solve a haunting cold case--and launch a crime-fighting revolution that tests the fragile line between justice and privacy.

In November 1987, a young couple from the idyllic suburbs of Vancouver Island on an overnight trip to Seattle vanished without a trace. A week later, the bodies of Tanya Van Cuylenborg and her boyfriend Jay Cook were found in rural Washington. It was a brutal crime, and it was the perfect crime: With few clues and no witnesses in the vast and foreboding Olympic Peninsula, an international manhunt turned up empty, and the sensational case that shocked the Pacific Northwest gradually slipped from the headlines.

In deep-freeze, long-term storage, biological evidence from the crime sat waiting, as Detective Jim Scharf poured over old case files looking for clues his predecessors missed. Meanwhile, 1,200 miles away in California, CeCe Moore began her lifelong fascination with genetic genealogy, a powerful forensic tool that emerged not from the crime lab, but through the wildly popular home DNA ancestry tests purchased by more than 40 million Americans. When Scharf decided to send the cold case's decades-old DNA to Parabon NanoLabs, he hoped he would finally bring closure to the Van Cuylenborg and Cook families. He didn't know that he and Moore would make history.

Genetic genealogy, long the province of family tree hobbyists and adoptees seeking their birth families, has made headlines as a cold case solution machine, capable of exposing the darkest secrets of seemingly upstanding citizens. In the hands of a tenacious detective like Scharf, genetic genealogy has solved one baffling killing after another. But as this crime-fighting technique spreads, its sheer power has sparked a national debate: Can we use DNA to catch the murderers among us, yet still protect our last shred of privacy in the digital age--the right to the very blueprint of who we are?

Genealogy of a Murder

Genealogy of a Murder

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Independence Day weekend, 1960: a young cop is murdered, shocking his close-knit community in Stamford, Connecticut. The killer remains at large, his identity still unknown. But on a beach not far away, a young Army doctor, on vacation from his post at a research lab in a maximum-security prison, faces a chilling realization. He knows who the shooter is. In fact, the man--a prisoner out on parole--had called him only days before. By helping his former charge and trainee, the doctor, a believer in second chances, may have inadvertently helped set the murder into motion. And with that one phone call, may have sealed a policeman's fate.

Alvin Tarlov, David Troy, and Joseph DeSalvo were all born of the Great Depression, all with grandparents who'd left different homelands for the same American Dream. How did one become a doctor, one a cop, and one a convict? In Genealogy of a Murder, journalist Lisa Belkin traces the paths of each of these three men--one of them her stepfather. Her canvas is large, spanning the first half of the 20th century: immigration, the struggles of the working class, prison reform, medical experiments, politics and war, the nature/nurture debate, epigenetics, the infamous Leopold and Loeb case, and the history of motorcycle racing. It is also intimate: a look into the workings of the mind and heart.

Following these threads to their tragic outcome in July 1960, and beyond, Belkin examines the coincidences and choices that led to one fateful night. The result is a brilliantly researched, narratively ingenious story, which illuminates how we shape history even as we are shaped by it.

Genealogy of a Murder

Genealogy of a Murder

$29.95
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Independence Day weekend, 1960: a young cop is murdered, shocking his close-knit community in Stamford, Connecticut. The killer remains at large, his identity still unknown. But on a beach not far away, a young Army doctor, on vacation from his post at a research lab in a maximum-security prison, faces a chilling realization. He knows who the shooter is. In fact, the man--a prisoner out on parole--had called him only days before. By helping his former charge and trainee, the doctor, a believer in second chances, may have inadvertently helped set the murder into motion. And with that one phone call, may have sealed a policeman's fate.

Alvin Tarlov, David Troy, and Joseph DeSalvo were all born of the Great Depression, all with grandparents who'd left different homelands for the same American Dream. How did one become a doctor, one a cop, and one a convict? In Genealogy of a Murder, journalist Lisa Belkin traces the paths of each of these three men--one of them her stepfather. Her canvas is large, spanning the first half of the 20th century: immigration, the struggles of the working class, prison reform, medical experiments, politics and war, the nature/nurture debate, epigenetics, the infamous Leopold and Loeb case, and the history of motorcycle racing. It is also intimate: a look into the workings of the mind and heart.

Following these threads to their tragic outcome in July 1960, and beyond, Belkin examines the coincidences and choices that led to one fateful night. The result is a brilliantly researched, narratively ingenious story, which illuminates how we shape history even as we are shaped by it.

Gentleman and a Thief

Gentleman and a Thief

$32.50
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Catch Me If You Can meets The Great Gatsby meets the hit Netflix series Lupin in this captivating true-crime caper about Arthur Barry, "the greatest jewel thief who ever lived" (Life Magazine), who charmed celebrities and millionaires, stole from Rockefellers and royalty, and pulled off the most audacious and lucrative heists of the Jazz Age.

A skilled con artist and one of the most successful burglars in history, Arthur Barry was adept at slipping in and out of bedrooms undetected, even when his victims slept only inches away. He became a folk hero, a gentleman bandit touted in the press as the "Prince of Thieves" and an "Aristocrat of Crime." Think Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief. In a span of seven years, Barry stole pearls, diamonds, and other precious gems worth almost $60 million today. Among his many victims were a Rockefeller, an heiress to the Woolworth Department Store fortune, an oil magnate, Wall Street bigwigs, a top executive of automotive giant General Motors, and a famous polo player. He befriended the Prince of Wales, Harry Houdini, and other luminaries. The rollicking, caper-filled rise and dramatic downfall of this master thief is a high-speed ride told in stylish prose.

A Gentleman and a Thief is also a love story. Barry confessed to dozens of burglaries to protect his wife, Anna Blake (and was the prime suspect in scores of others on Long Island and across Westchester County). Sentenced to a twenty-five-year term, he staged a dramatic prison break--triggering a bloody inmates' riot--when Anna became seriously ill, so they could be together for a few more years as fugitives. Page-turning, escapist, and sparkling with insight into the allure of gemstones and our fascination with well-planned heists and the suave, clever criminals who pull them off, A Gentleman and a Thief is perfect for true crime fans who relish the exploits of con artists and high-class crooks.

Gone at Midnight

Gone at Midnight

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The case that captivated a nation and inspired the Netflix series Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel!


The New York Times Summer Reads
Fortune Magazine's "Most Anticipated Books of the Year"
Oxygen's List of "Best True Crime Books of the Year"

"The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles is a palpable presence in Gone at Midnight. Given the checkered history of the Cecil Hotel (which was recently named to the Los Angeles registry of historic landmarks), I wouldn't rule out Jack the Ripper."
--The New York Times

"Outstanding...true crime buffs won't want to miss this gripping search for the truth."
--Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW

A young woman's tragic journey of self-discovery, downward spiral, and horrifying death in L.A.'s infamous Cecil Hotel sparks the birth of an internet urban legend--and for one determined journalist, a life-changing quest toward uncomfortable truths. Now in paperback, the critically acclaimed, definitive investigation into the mysterious death of Elisa Lam!

Twenty-one-year-old student Elisa Lam was last heard from on January 31, 2013, after she checked into downtown L.A.'s Cecil Hotel--a 600-room building with a nine-decade history of scandal and tragedy. The next day, Elisa vanished. More than a week later, guests' complaints of poor water quality led to a grim discovery: Elisa's nude body floating in a rooftop water tank. The only clue was a disturbing elevator video of Elisa, uploaded to YouTube in a plea for public assistance.

As the video went viral, journalist Jake Anderson set out to uncover the facts. In Gone at Midnight he chronicles eye-opening discoveries about who Elisa Lam really was and what--or whom--she was running from, offering stunning new insights into one of the most chilling and obsessively followed true crime cases of the century.
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Gotti Wars

Gotti Wars

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"Riveting...an electrifying true crime story of the Mafia-smitten eighties and nineties. Suspenseful and multifaceted, The Gotti Wars can't be missed." --Esquire, The Best Nonfiction Books of the Year

A "meticulous chronicle of good triumphing over evil" (The Washington Post) from the determined young prosecutor who, in two of America's most celebrated trials, managed to convict famed mob boss John Gotti--and ultimately took down the Mafia altogether.

John Gotti was without a doubt the flashiest and most feared Mafioso in American history. He became the boss of the Gambino Crime Family in spectacular fashion--with the brazen and very public murder of Paul Castellano in front of Sparks Steakhouse in midtown Manhattan in 1985. Not one to stay below law enforcement's radar, Gotti instead became the first celebrity crime boss. His penchant for eye-catching apparel earned him the nickname "The Dapper Don;" his ability to beat criminal charges led to another: "The Teflon Don."

This is the captivating story of Gotti's meteoric rise to power and his equally dramatic downfall. Every step of the way, Gotti's legal adversary--John Gleeson, an Assistant US Attorney in Brooklyn--was watching. When Gotti finally faced two federal racketeering prosecutions, Gleeson prosecuted both. As the junior lawyer in the first case--a bitter seven-month battle that ended in Gotti's acquittal--Gleeson found himself in Gotti's crosshairs, falsely accused of serious crimes by a defense witness Gotti intimidated into committing perjury.

Five years later, Gleeson was in charge of the second racketeering investigation and trial. Armed with the FBI's secret recordings of Gotti's conversations with his underboss and consigliere in the apartment above Gotti's Little Italy hangout, Gleeson indicted all three. He "flipped" underboss Sammy the Bull Gravano, killer of nineteen men, who became history's highest-ranking mob turncoat--resulting in Gotti's murder conviction. Gleeson ended not just Gotti's reign, but eventually that of the entire mob.

A spellbinding, page-turning courtroom drama, The Gotti Wars "tells us in electrifying detail how the good guys finally won, how justice triumphed over evil, and how Gleeson himself was transformed by his long war" (Nelson DeMille).

He Had It Coming

He Had It Coming

$35.00
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Beulah Annan. Belva Gaertner. Kitty Malm. Sabella Nitti. These are the real women of Chicago.

You probably know Roxie and Velma, the good-time gals of the 1926 satirical play Chicago and its wildly successful musical and movie adaptations. You might not know that Roxie, Velma, and the rest of the colorful characters of the play were inspired by real prisoners held in "Murderess Row" in 1920s Chicago--or that the reporter who covered their trials for the Chicago Tribune went on to write the play Chicago.

Now, more than 90 years later, the Chicago Tribune has uncovered photographs and newspaper clippings telling the story of the four women who inspired the timeless characters of Chicago. But these photos tell a different story--and itʼs not all about glamour, fashion, and celebrity. They show a young mother in jail hugging her two-year-old daughter. They show an immigrant woman who doesnʼt speak the language of her judge, jury, and attorney. And they show women who used their images to sway public opinion--and their juries.

He Had It Coming collects recently discovered photos, original newspaper clippings, and stories from Tribune reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins as well as new analysis written by Tribune film critic Michael Phillips, theater critic Chris Jones, and columnists Heidi Stevens and Rick Kogan to build a fascinating history of women in crime in Jazz Age Chicago, a history that takes on new meaning in today's #MeToo moment.

Hearts of Darkness

Hearts of Darkness

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For fans of Mindhunter, Criminal Minds, and My Favorite Murder, a riveting memoir of a trailblazing woman's life hunting down serial killers as one of the first female profilers of the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit and the real-life model for Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs.

"Jana Monroe is the single most influential woman to ever serve in the FBI." --Joe Navarro, bestselling author of What Every BODY Is Saying

Jana Monroe was no ordinary cop. One of the first analysts--and, at the time, the only female agent--in the world-renowned FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit at Quantico, she consulted on more than 850 homicide cases, including infamous serial killers Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Edmund Kemper, and Aileen Wuornos. Monroe was also the model for Clarice Starling in the movie version of The Silence of the Lambs; she even helped train Jodie Foster for her Oscar-winning role. Monroe's later years found her dealing with the aftermath of Columbine, heading up the FBI's post-9/11 investigation in Las Vegas, and much more.

In Hearts of Darkness, Monroe steps out from the shadows to tell the story of her astonishing life in shaping law enforcement and intelligence analysis. Monroe explores the cases that have stayed with her, breaking down victimology, offering new insight into the minds of serial killers, and discussing the psychological toll of the job and the obstacles she faced as a woman in the male-dominated Bureau. This is a gripping, sometimes gruesome, and always remarkable memoir of an unparalleled life and career spent chasing the monsters among us.

Hells Half-Acre

Hells Half-Acre

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One of NPR's "Books We Love"
New York Times Book Review's
"The Best True Crime of 2022"

"Rich in historical perspective and graced by novelistic touches, grips the reader from first to last."--Wall Street Journal

A suspense filled tale of murder on the American frontier--shedding new light on a family of serial killers in Kansas, whose horrifying crimes gripped the attention of a nation still reeling from war.

In 1873 the people of Labette County, Kansas made a grisly discovery. Buried by a trailside cabin beneath an orchard of young apple trees were the remains of countless bodies. Below the cabin itself was a cellar stained with blood. The Benders, the family of four who once resided on the property were nowhere to be found. The discovery sent the local community and national newspapers into a frenzy that continued for decades, sparking an epic manhunt for the Benders.

The idea that a family of seemingly respectable homesteaders--one among the thousands relocating farther west in search of land and opportunity after the Civil War--were capable of operating "a human slaughter pen" appalled and fascinated the nation. But who the Benders really were, why they committed such a vicious killing spree and whether justice ever caught up to them is a mystery that remains unsolved to this day. Set against the backdrop of postbellum America, Hell's Half-Acre explores the environment capable of allowing such horrors to take place. Drawing on extensive original archival material, Susan Jonusas introduces us to a fascinating cast of characters, many of whom have been previously missing from the story. Among them are the families of the victims, the hapless detectives who lost the trail, and the fugitives that helped the murderers escape.

Hell's Half-Acre is a journey into the turbulent heart of nineteenth century America, a place where modernity stalks across the landscape, violently displacing existing populations and building new ones. It is a world where folklore can quickly become fact and an entire family of criminals can slip through a community's fingers, only to reappear in the most unexpected of places.